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Author Topic: Viable plan for small croft?  (Read 474 times)

Creagan

  • Joined Jun 2013
Viable plan for small croft?
« on: April 25, 2017, 08:15:35 am »
We've got a small (four acre) croft, with only about an acre and a half of really good improved grazing- the rest is very rough ground, more heather than grass. We also have a common grazing share. We're on Skye so the weather isn't really on our side either :D

We need to be realistic with what we take on. Goats are too much work, pigs would destroy the place, cattle probably would need a bigger croft and/or masses of bought in feed. So, sheep it is then. I'm not a complete novice with sheep but it's generally just small flocks of pet ones that I've been involved with before.

I think blackies would be the best bet given how rough much of the ground is. I am fortunate to have a guy locally who can slaughter and butcher for me (yes I know I couldn't then sell the meat). We could probably eat our way through two or three sheep per year without getting sick of it, but I don't see us wanting to eat much more than that.

I have a neighbour who is happy to join forces at tupping, shearing, dosing- possibly even lambing time. Which is good because I don't really have facilities (one small wooden floored shed, not ideal for keeping stock in).

So, over to you guys- if it was your place, what would you do?

CarolineJ

  • Joined Dec 2015
  • North coast of Scotland
Re: Viable plan for small croft?
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2017, 01:08:38 pm »
Have a look at North Country Cheviots as well, perhaps?  They'd also do well on that ground.  My neighbour bought 12 blackie ewes last year, she spends half her time rounding them back up - they can leap like stags and think nothing of clearing stock fencing with a double strand of barbed wire on the top, so take themselves off for a wander when they feel like it!

Creagan

  • Joined Jun 2013
Re: Viable plan for small croft?
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2017, 02:13:44 pm »
I have considered them, for sure, as a lot of my neighbours have them. But these same neighbours also make no use of the hill share and with my croft being so small I think the hill will be a necessary part of my plans.

I'm fortunate that the fencing is in good nick (one side brand new, one side about 5yrs old) so I don't anticipate problems will blackies getting out. Famous last words :D

CarolineJ

  • Joined Dec 2015
  • North coast of Scotland
Re: Viable plan for small croft?
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2017, 09:43:38 pm »
Our village collectively has over 1,000 NCCs out on coastal hill common grazings and they do fine.  Good luck with the blackies!

Garmoran

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Lochaber, Highland
Re: Viable plan for small croft?
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2017, 09:22:05 am »
I'll back up what Caroline says - Cheviots will do fine on the hill. I've yet to see any hill grazing on Skye that is rougher than ours. You can feed the sheep on the hill in winter and put out feed blocks to help them if you think it necessary. If none of your neighbours make use of the hill then, unlike me, you will be feeding only your own animals :D

Cheviot lambs will get you a bit more at market and the Wool Board will give you twice as much per kilo for the wool.

Blackies or Cheviots are likely to wander if bought in. How far can they go if they are on the hill?

Hamish Crofter

  • Moderator
  • Joined Jun 2013
  • Isle of Skye
Re: Viable plan for small croft?
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2017, 01:37:00 pm »

I'm at the north end of Skye and we are also considering which breed to get. Whilst my Croft is a bit larger it's a real mix of good and bad grazing. We are looking at Hebrideans and Herdwicks, they are both hardy breeds and hebs will do well on rough pasture. Neither are particularly commercial breeds but depends what you are in it for.......

 

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